Is Thinking What Makes Babies? Harris Perry Says So – UPDATED

I’m sorry, but something about this woman just creeps me out. Perhaps it is because her beauty seems incongruous to her person, which screams “perpetual 14 year old”.

You have to go here to watch her and hear her. It’s so bizarre:

“When a pregnancy is wanted…it is easy to think of the bump as a baby.”

As opposed, I guess to something vegetative, or lupine?

I’m perfectly aware that “the bump” is a trendy bit of word-play — the first (and necessary) step toward dehumanizing a pregnancy and turning it into a “thing” that is easy to think of a baby, if one wishes to. Apparently, in Melissa Harris-Perry’s world, thinking is what makes a baby a baby! If you don’t want to think it’s a baby, it can be anything!

Magical thinking! I thought that was habit of religious people. But this issue is sort of a religion for some, isn’t it? A Strange God at which to bow?

More pearls:

“But not every pregnancy is a fairy tale. There are other stories. An ultrasound reveals severe birth defects.” (So, once that challenging information is ascertained, the baby instantly becomes not a baby? Is there a special chant or incantation for that?) UPDATE: Hey, Ms. Harris-Perry, watch this!)

“A child is raped, and becomes pregnant.”

(Pregnant with what, Ma’am? With a non-baby? Wouldn’t you also make that argument if a grown woman was raped and became pregnant? Did you specifically say “a child” in order to manipulate your audience? How old is “a child”? In some states a 13 year-old girl is considered sufficiently adult to not require parental consent while having a vacuum introduced into an already-violated vagina, bringing additional violence into her very womb. Does the sufficiently adult 13 year-old suddenly become “a child” depending on the circumstances? I’m so confused! What about a 17 year-old? Trayvon Martin was a 17 year-old young man, who was referred to, repeatedly, as “a child.” We need to get clear on a basic question, anymore, of what constitutes “a child” and whether one exists in the womb.)

“Another baby would jeopardize a mother’s ability to feed her living children.”

(Wait! So, you’re saying it is a baby — another child for the mother — but it should just be a dead child having no place among her living children. Because…let me think this through now…it’s better to kill the baby [your word!] than to allow families and churches and faith communities and duly-funded government agencies to intervene and give assistance [which is a good thing that you say you endorse] so the mother can love (and be loved by) all of her children, and help them to grow?)

“A woman decides she does not want a child at all.”

(Ah, now we come to the heart of the matter. Tug all the heartstrings you want, honey, but eventually you have to spell it out: reasons and excuses are just necessary evils offered for the sake of appearances, to make the heart of your philosophy seem less ghastly: that a woman should not need a reason for an abortion at all. “My body, my choice!” “Abortion on demand, without apology.” Why didn’t you just say that from the start and stow the fake hand-wringing? What are you aborting, by the way, I forget.)

“These are different pregnancies.”

(Not really. They’re the same as other pregnancies.)

“They’re reminders that an unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one.”

(Can be? They are biologically, scientifically, cellularly, atomically, materially, the same. Why do you hate science?)

“But the experience can be entirely different. Eggs are fertilized; embryos implant; cells divide and multiply; fetus’ grow. But when does life begin?”

(Dead things can’t grow. Only living things can grow. So, if its cells are dividing and multiplying it’s growing. Because its alive. An entity with its own DNA, its own fingerprints, haircolor, and blood-type grows because the fetus (the “unborn young”) is alive. Life has begun.)

“I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science.”

(And we’re back to feelings and magical thinking, and a complete disregard for science. But wait, the answer depends “an awful lot” on the “powerful feeling” of the parents (you mean, the woman) but not wholly? If that’s true then who else gets a say? The church? The government? Are you making an argument for personal, bodily autonomy or not?)

“The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.”

Which feelings? I’m so confused. Up until now you’ve appeared to make an argument that a baby is not a baby unless feelings and thinking make it so; that the “powerful feeling” of a parent is what makes a “bump” into a baby, or renders it into mere bloody waste to be captured in jars and toilets. And you’ve seemed to argue that those feelings matter. But now you’re saying that there is a “problem” — which certainly sounds negative — with policymakers creating law based on feelings. So, are you arguing that policy should not be written based on feelings at all, but should be based on science? Even if, in your world, the answer as to when life begins remains nebulous and hinges on those feelings?

That sounds good to me. Bring on the ultrasounds.

Honestly, though, this clip is so convoluted and confusing, I feel like I need to see more of it — like she must have said something after the clip ends that brings it back around to making sense. Does anyone have a transcript?

Once more, in case you missed it in the body of the post, watch this. Harris-Perry mentions ultrasounds showing “severe defects.” What is the measure of severe, anyway? Who decides what constitutes a good quality of life?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Gweilo66

    Notice in her description of early development she mentions cells
    dividing etc without mentioning a fairly accepted metric for human life,
    the beating heart. Another one would be detectable brain activity.
    her comment reminds me of a scenario I can imagine. 2 women, both 12
    weeks pregnant. Woman A is walking to an abortion clinic consult, Woman B
    to pregnancy class. Woman A gets robbed and beaten by same perp,
    causing miscarriage. Woman B gets robbed and beaten as well, causing
    miscarriage. Could err..”viability” of manslaughter charges be riding
    solely on each woman’s plan for the bump?

  • Jeff H

    “They’re reminders that an unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one.”

    (Can be? They are biologically, scientifically, cellularly, atomically, materially, the same. Why do you hate science?)

    Don’t forget–they are morally the same, in the eyes of God, who of course is the only just arbiter of what is moral.

  • Bob McFee

    If you really want them to think about it, offer them Jonathan Swift’s solution: would they be willing to eat it if it isn’t human? Tasty gourmet Filet O Fetus sandwich….. with the trademark little foot sticking out from between the lettuce and the mystery sauce.

    If it isn’t human, what is it? If it isn’t alive, why do they feel the need to kill it? Crazy folks are they.

  • 2001Sacrament

    I could not link up to a clip of her presentation but going on what you’ve reported here, I do wonder if it isn’t people like this who will convert the more devoted pro-”choice” advocates. I think most of them are just blinded by the nicer sounding rhetoric and the profound illogic and cruelty of Harris-Perry’s notions might jolt them into wondering if they really want to be aligned with this awful mentality.

  • greggraham

    It seems to me like all of the excitement over the royal baby may be embarrassing to those who want to “free women from their maternity.”

  • Mike B

    Statistically, women are more likely than men to support a complete across-the-board ban on abortion. But Bill’s right – the “pro-choice” side is dramatically opposed to the facts. Even the phrase “pro-choice” serves to obscure the issue rather than clarify, preventing some people from thinking about the realities of abortion. It’s a good example of what George Orwell said: “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Pro-choice is a phrase as empty as the position for which people use it. All wind, and nothing more.

  • submandave

    You know, historically that “thinking” thing has been used to dehumanize a lot of breathing folks to justify genocide. Just ask the American Indians or European Jews or Tutsis about the power of thought.

  • kwdayboise

    “I’m sorry, but something about this woman just creeps me out. Perhaps it is because her beauty seems incongruous to her person, which screams “perpetual 14 year old”.”

    Sure. She black, intellectual, liberal, successful. I can see you being creeped out, Elizabeth. But, honestly, the ad hominem about her looks pretty much says it all. Thanks for your contribution to centuries of Catholic intellectual tradition. You’ve done Aquinas proud today.

  • MeanLizzie

    What a cheap, stupid comment. I’ve called Nancy Pelosi “creepy” and “incoherent” and “perpetually adolescent” too. Oh my goodness! That must be because she’s Italian-American! :::eyeroll::: You know nothing about me, or my background, but b/c I think this woman is adolescent and incoherent it must be b/c she’s black. That’s both played out and lazy, and it demonstrates that you choose not to assume good faith in anyone who disagrees with you. How sad. She’s an “intellectual”? — ask Dr. Cornell West what he thinks of her intellectual rigor. I don’t claim to be an intellectual — I’ve never claimed to be an Aquinas — but I know incoherence when I see it. Small-minded bigotry and stereotyping, too.

    And I bet you think you’re a liberal.

  • Rational

    Re the statement that a baby will make it harder to feed her other kids. Since the baby will eat the least of all the kids, wouldn’t this actually be justification for killing the oldest child?

  • Blaise MacLean

    I am a Canadian and here, before becoming a lawyer we go through a form of apprenticeship called “articling”. When I was articling in Toronto about a hundred years ago..okay maybe it was 1988 or 89…I had the chance to sit in on the “hate crimes” trial of a neo-Nazi named Ernst Zundel. I have never forgotten some testimony from an expert (I do not know which side called him) about the Nazi killings of Jews in Russia. What the witness talked about was orders that would come to the German army. Some orders would order the elimination of “security risks” while other orders would define all kinds of security risks…including Jews. Thus by adding 2+2 you get the re-defining of Jews from human beings to being Security Risks to be eliminated. Effectively, they were defined out of existence. I have always been struck by the similarity of this Nazi-style reasoning to the attempts to re-define the unborn baby as something non-human. Harris Perry’s “reasoning” is just another example of the Mengeleque approach to abortion. Just as the Nazis assumed the power to define Jews as non-humans, so does Ms. Harris Perry arrogate to herself and/or other people…I assume pregnant mothers-to-be, the right to define whether or not the child within is or is not human. This, of course, gives them to ability to deal with the child/bump, as the case may be, as they wish. The rationization that on this issue alone the determination of a question of fact ( or is not the unborn child human?) can be made subjectively not objectively is one of the most horrific aspects of the pro-abortion movement and is corroding our society. Ms. Harris Perry, in common with Dr. Mengele in her supreme horrifying arrogance, assumes the power to define out of existence particular human beings and to consign them to the mercies of the Henry Morgentalers and Kermit Gosnells of the world.